March 1999, various articles
Bee killer GAUCHO prohibited
French agricultural minister Jean Glavany prohibited the use of the BAYER insecticide GAUCHO in sunflower fields. He decided in favor of the beekeepers who had blamed the death of their bees and the decrease in honey production on the insecticide.
The day before the minister made his decision, 700 beekeepers from throughout the countries demonstrated at the Eiffel tower in Paris. Large agricultural organizations such as CONFÉDÉRATION PAYSANNE and the FNSEA supported the protests. "Stop poisoning our bees", "Stop GAUCHO" and "Save beekeeping" were some of the signs at the demonstration. In a fiery speech, beekeeper president Henri Clment railed against the chemical multinational based in Leverkusen claiming that they were threatening the existence of an entire profession and urged the agricultural minister to stop the use of GAUCHO in fields of sunflowers.
With success. Glavany's vote was a preliminary end to years of discussion between beekeepers and BAYER. The beekeepers first noticed damages to their bee stocks that were near fields of sunflowers treated with GAUCHO in 1994. Entire bee populations disappeared shortly after the flowers bloomed.
DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS protest
The aid organization DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS has accused the pharmaceuticals industry of no longer developing medication or vaccines against diseases that commonly occur in Third World countries. The organization feels that BAYER & Co. do not consider the poorer countries to be lucrative sales areas and therefore no longer conduct tropical disease research, therefore allowing one million people to die annually from malaria alone.
EU prohibits BAYER growth hormone
At the request of EU agricultural commissioner Franz Fischler, the EU Commission has prohibited the sales of BAYER's growth hormone OLAQUINDOX. Scientists consider the feed additive used in intensive livestock farming to be genetically damaging and carcinogenic.
HAARMANN & REIMER found guilty
The Canadian anti-trust commission found the BAYER subsidiary HAARMANN & REIMER and other food additives manufacturers guilty of illegal price fixing in the case of citric acid. The company was fined the equivalent of five million German marks. The price fixing case is still in the American courts, and the EU anti-trust commission is continuing to investigate against HAARMANN & REIMER.
Holocaust survivor sues BAYER
A survivor of the Holocaust sued the pharmaceutical giant Bayer in federal court, accusing the company of collaborating in wartime atrocities by Nazi doctors who experimented on Jews. The lawsuit, believed to be the first of its kind in the world, seeks U.S. District Court approval to cover all those who can be shown to have been experimented on by the Nazis with Bayer's involvement. Eva Mozes Kor, among the 1,500 sets of twins experimented on by the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele, claims that Bayer monitored and supervised medical experiments at the Nazi concentration camp where she was interned. She claims the experiments involved toxic chemicals that Bayer provided.
In some of the experiments, the lawsuit states, prisoners were injected with germs known to cause diseases, "to test the effectiveness of various drugs" manufactured by Bayer. "It's impossible to put on a scale the various horrors of the Holocaust; but this case represents the worst example of individual and corporate evil that the legal system may ever see," said Irwin B. Levin, one of several lawyers handling this class-action case and a prior lawsuit that won reparations for Holocaust victims from banks in Switzerland.
According to Levin, Bayer paid Nazi officials during World War II for access to those confined in the camps and collaborated in Nazi experiments as a form of research and development. The lawsuit seeks unspecified punitive damages and the recovery of profits it maintains Bayer earned as a result of such research.
Kor is represented in her lawsuit by five of the 10 U.S. law firms that were appointed by a federal judge in New York to handle litigation against Swiss banks. The banks were targeted for their business transactions with Nazis who stole hundreds of millions of dollars in Jewish assets. Evidence of the Nazis' bank deposits in Switzerland surfaced in recent years as wartime records were declassified. That litigation recently was settled on behalf of Holocaust survivors for $1.25 billion.
Levin, who has worked with Cohen & Malad co-counsel Richard Shevitz on the Holocaust cases, said there is a significant distinction between the case against the Swiss banks and the case against Bayer. "Even though we had direct evidence of the Swiss banks' refusal to release monies that they knew belonged to Holocaust victims and survivors, there was never a suggestion that the banks directly participated in the atrocities at the camps. "In this case, Bayer actually performed some of those atrocities," Levin said.
According to the lawsuit, a physician identified only as Dr. Koenig was a representative of Bayer and accompanied Mengele as he performed his grotesque medical experiments at the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz, Poland. Bayer provided toxic chemicals to the Nazis, and Mengele used them in the experiments, while Koenig recorded the results and reported that information to Bayer, the lawsuit maintains.
Kor and her twin sister were among a group of 300 female twins in a camp in the Birkenau section of Auschwitz. Mengele conducted genetic experiments there in an effort to create a super race of blonde, blue-eyed Aryans who would be born in multiple births. As many as 1,500 sets of twins were maltreated and injected with chemicals by Mengele, who was accompanied by Koenig, the lawsuit states. Both Kor and her sister survived their 10-month ordeal in the concentration camp and were liberated by Soviet troops in January 1945. They were nearly 10 years old. "I'm hoping that after 54 years, and losing my sister as a result of these experiments, that they (Bayer) will acknowledge responsibility for using children, especially twins, to conduct experiments with Joseph Mengele," Kor said. Besides restitution, Kor said she also wants an apology and assurances that it never happens again. The lawsuit maintains that Bayer has for decades denied any involvement in the experiments, refused to offer any compensation and refused to disclose information. But, the lawsuit states, information recently has come to light on the issue as more archived records are being made available to the public.